May 2, 1998
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- Notre Dame's softball team lost 4-1 to Connecticut and 1-0 to Rutgers on Saturday as the Irish were eliminated from the four-team, double-elimination BIG EAST championship on their home field at Ivy Field. Connecticut scored four unearned runs in the first game, including three in the top of the seventh to break a 1-1 tie, and Notre Dame went 0-7 with runners in opportunity against Rutgers as the Lady Knights scored in the bottom of the sixth for a 1-0 lead. For the day, the Irish were 0-11 with runners in scoring position and 3-18 with runners on base.
Defending champion Boston College beat Rutgers 1-0 in the opening game and Connecticut 4-2 to advance to Sunday's championship game. Connecticut and Rutgers will meet on Sunday's first game at 10:00 a.m. with the winner facing Boston College in the championship game.
Connecticut got on the board first with an unearned run in the third inning. The Irish came back with a run in the bottom of the fourth when Melanie Alkire doubled, went to third on a fly ball and scored on a wild pitch. The game remained tied until Connecticut took advantage of three errors to score three unearned runs in the top of the seventh for a 4-1 win.
Irish freshman pitcher Jennifer Sharron, who was named BIG EAST player of the year at Friday's championship banquet, pitched a complete game to take the loss, allowing four unearned run on just six hits while walking none to fall to 15-7. Megan Biddle pitched a complete game to improve to 10-5.
Against Rutgers, Notre Dame had eight hits but left eight runners stranded as the Lady Knights, who were the home team, scored in the bottom of the sixth and put Notre Dame down in order in the top of the seventh for a 1-0 win. Angela Bessolo allowed one run on six hits to fall to 5-8. Juliette Brooks, improved to 13-9 with the shutout win.
Notre Dame entered the championship with a 17-game winning streak, the third longest streak in the NCAA, and a school-record 13-game Ivy Field winning streak but both were snapped. The Irish were 30-4 all-time against BIG EAST teams at Ivy Field before the losses. Notre Dame is now 4-6 all-time in its three appearances in the BIG EAST championship and has lost its last three games.
Game One Boston College 1, Rutgers 0